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Pda For Caching


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Would like to purchase a PDA so I can become one of the "paperless cachers". :laughing: I would like a decent PDA that lets me store a lot of cache descriptions & logs. However, I don't want to spend a ton of money because I won't use the PDA for anything other than caching. Anyone out there using their PDA for paperless caching? Could use some guidance...Thanks!!

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Okay I have two PDAs. One is my expensive "geeked out" one that works great. Garmin Ique 3600 for $250.

 

The other is my no frills basic PDA for caching, and never caring if I break it Palm IIIxe for $20 (yes, only $20). The $20 one works great, using 2 Lithium AAA batteries, I expect maybe two months on the batteries, literally!! It can store about 1000 caches and notes (about what most GPS can store). It has a back light. I bought a Stylus that has a writting pen built in.

 

Forgot to mention I am using cachemate software for $8 and GSAK software for $15. You need these two softwares!!

Edited by Ellteejak
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Any PDA works fine for just cache descriptions and logs. The cheapest $100 PDA will do this using Cachemate software. But if you want a true solution the best deals for real Geeks willing to figure out and configure the system – than something such as a Dell Axim X30 up to the X51v (high resolution screen http://www1.us.dell.com/content/products/p...s=19&l=en&s=dhs ), with Bluetooth. Ipaqs are a little better but cost a lot more. You don’t need the high CPU speed some of these units offer, but you can turn the speed down of a high speed unit to increase battery life, but you need the Bluetooth. Then a Bluetooth Sirf Star III GPS – Globalsat ST-338 (about US$ 125, perhaps the best, smallest and under the hat the stealthiest :rolleyes: ); or the generic Solar GPS (sold for about US$106 by Vivitech – Taiwan, F-Tech and Solarius, good car GPS with an antenna jack, one of the largest but still fairly small) is a solar rechargeable GPSR and can be fastened on top of a hat with one small powerful Goop glued magnet inside the hat – there is a magnet in the back of the GPSR to help it stay in place in a car and you can add some Velcro to secure any unit better :laughing: . These units typically work poorly if at all with the provided software (interface problems with the pocket OS) but when you download Backcountry Navigation software (www.backcountrynavigation.com 21 day free trail, $US30 to activate) the combination allows you to download free topo maps, seamlessly from www.terraserver.com, download gpx files from www.geocaching.com and put it together, and you don't need cachemate software any more. You walk in an area and can see the topo, (aerial maps can be downloaded but are a little much for Dial Up Network, DUN) and all the caches :unsure: . To download all these maps an external SD card makes it easier to just grab and go – all the maps and gpx files; a 1 GB SD card is about $29 and certainly big enough for my topos. Backcountry Navigation can do everything but is not intuitive and you have to spend time figuring out and going over online tutorials. But in the end you never need to input anything – but can if you choose to. The above units can be taken to a site with free WiFi, mostly libraries around here, or just connect to your PC, and you can download gpx files and maps directly to the unit or transfer from a PC or file your own finds – now that is a paperless solution. I’m sure a backup GPSR would be wise for real wilderness, but I have only an old one with one less Lat/Long digit – which is good only for getting your way back to the car on a road you can easily hit. I don’t carry my old GPSR at all, but usually carry a paper topo map and sighting compass as a backup (but I am a “Map and Compass” kind of guy). I love wilderness for my trips/caches. I carry two long-life batteries for the Axim and one regular battery – the GPSR I shut off when I don’t need it and let the sun recharge it – it takes about two sunny days to fully charge a dead battery – but last about 12 hours in use. The solution, Bluetooth GPSR and Bluetooth Pocket PC, is perhaps best for GEEKS because for others it maybe too time consuming and mind bending to figure out – this solution with all the software, hardware and 1 GB card cost about US$360 to about US$500 for the best ones – I already had the PPC and card so for me was only about US$136. Maybe for people who want an out of the box solution a Garmin GPS PDA is best; but the maps are lower resolution (worse), the PPC is slower (better on battery life, but worse on performance), the memory card is smaller, units under US$900 offer only street maps and the Garmin is less bang for the buck http://www.garmin.com/products/iQue3200/ ; an SD card GPSR, such as the current generation, 2006, of affordable Garmin PDAs, can also get damaged or fallout.

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Well, I just splurged on the the Dell Axim X51v and souped it up a bit. Yeah, I had to add the GPS bundle to it...and the BlueTooth. I hope this will work for paperless geocaching plus a lot more! What do you recommend for software to put on it? I know you said something about the geocaching software, so I'll put that on the Axim when I get it sometime next week. Just wanted to see what you would also put on it in terms of software. This is my first PDA.

 

Thank you,

 

-Andy (mooka520)

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I use Mapopolis on my PPC. It auto routes using voice and visual prompts. Using gpxtomaplet you can overlay all the caches on the Mapopolis street maps and auto route from one cache to the other or see what caches are nearby as you drive around doing other things. Add gpxsonar to your PPC and you can go paperless. I use my PPC in the woods but my Vista is hardier but lately I've been using the PPC because its GPS in the SF slot is a Sirf Star III technology that works better than any other under the foliage.

 

You can try Mapopolis for free for 9 days.

 

Also, I use GSAK in my computer to create the paperless pages using gpxsonar in my PPC.

 

You can also use GSAk in conjunction with Mapopolis and the maplets using gpxtomaplet so that when you tap the icon on the road maps, the cache will display cache type, name of cache, hider, D/T, miles from home, container type, etc.

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Well, I just splurged on the the Dell Axim X51v and souped it up a bit. Yeah, I had to add the GPS bundle to it...and the BlueTooth. I hope this will work for paperless geocaching plus a lot more! What do you recommend for software to put on it? I know you said something about the geocaching software, so I'll put that on the Axim when I get it sometime next week. Just wanted to see what you would also put on it in terms of software. This is my first PDA.

 

Thank you,

 

-Andy (mooka520)

The Axim x51v is an amazing Pocket PC with a spectacular screen, great for those who can see tiny detail in maps on the screen.

The manufacturer added GPS units are generally meant for driving streets and with the proper software can even give voice direction commands. I can follow the progress even with a topographical map through the city, but with no directions or voice; the software I use is for the boonies, parks and wilderness - that is Backcountry Navigator available at www.backcountrynavigator.com (US$30, 21 day free trail) - but than you must download gpx cache files for an area and the topos or with a fast connection maybe aerial photos - although these are sometimes difficult to understand unless you can also look at another map of the area. I do have MS Pocket Streets but have not yet installed it. The stuff from the manufacturer is more of an out of box solution. In buying a new Sirf Star III off the shelf the best Bluetooth devices are about $106 either for a generic Solar Sirf Star III off Ebay or http://www.semsons.com/soblgpsspofa.html or Globalsat ST-338 on Ebay and http://www.semsons.com/glbtgpsrebts1.html . Off the shelf without additional software you are lucky if they even give you a navigation arrow or a satellite lock :P - mine gave neither on the PPC but worked on the PC - but my Axim X30v with 2003SE OS works with Backcountry Navigator. Usually the more updated the operating system the more likely the system WON'T work with the software. I find that I still want Cachemate installed because as far as I can see with my limited familiarity is that CACHE SIZE IS NOT DISPLAYED. If you are a real geek, loving technology, putting it together from different sources for the components and software saves money, but can lead to problems if your OS is to new - i.e. not compatible.

As for durability the standard type GPSRs are often at least water resistant and can take more knocks than most PPCs although I have dropped both the Bluetooth GPSR and PPC on rocks from about 4 feet and they are fine except for a few scratches. The card mounted GPS units are likely to be damaged in such falls. You have an excellent start just head towards durability and extra batteries.

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wow, lots of money spent on a PDA!! with all the extras. Dell axium, bluetooth GPS, software!! Looks like well over $500 worth of stuff. Well I cant argue with that, as people like to spend money (better than cigarettes or gambling). So how long between recharges does the axium last while you are out hunting caches? Maybe five hours?

 

I am still saying that with a cheap Garmin Geko for $100 or less, and a Palm IIIxe PDA, and Cachemate (can live without GSAK, even though I recommend getting it), ****you are paperless for $150 GRAND TOTAL!!****. If you already have a GPS then you can spend as little as $30 to be paperless to get a Palm IIIxe (which lasts a month on lithium batteries!!!!).

 

P.S. I just bought a Krusell case for my Palm IIIxe, and it makes the PDA look terrific, while protecting it!!

Edited by Ellteejak
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wow, lots of money spent on a PDA!! with all the extras. Dell axium, bluetooth GPS, software!! Looks like well over $500 worth of stuff. Well I cant argue with that, as people like to spend money (better than cigarettes or gambling). So how long between recharges does the axium last while you are out hunting caches? Maybe five hours?

 

I am still saying that with a cheap Garmin Geko for $100 or less, and a Palm IIIxe PDA, and Cachemate (can live without GSAK, even though I recommend getting it), ****you are paperless for $150 GRAND TOTAL!!****. If you already have a GPS then you can spend as little as $30 to be paperless to get a Palm IIIxe (which lasts a month on lithium batteries!!!!).

 

P.S. I just bought a Krusell case for my Palm IIIxe, and it makes the PDA look terrific, while protecting it!!

Yes, about 5 hours, but I have three batteries - two are extended life and last about 8 hours each. While your PDA and standard GPSR makes you paperless, at a great price, it doesn't give you a topographical presentation with the caches displayed as you walk by or up to them - gives your position on the map and the cache - no need to even bring up the pointy arrow. This is all new to me - as I have just gotten the Bluetooth GPSR, and I am a newbie at caching, but not at wilderness hikes or map and compass, and prior to my purchase had only a GPSR of the old type with one less digit on Lat and Long - hard for geocaching. I cache with an addicted geocacher and old hiking buddy, X-girlfriend <_< , who at least up to now had the better GPSR - and I have about 100 topos and my sighting compass for the long wilderness trips. For me this was the way to go as I already had the Pocket PC, memory card and 3 batteries - cost me only $106 for the Bluetooth GPSR and $30 for the software - well, I already had Cachemate $8. I don't recommend my setup for someone not really into geek stuff - as it can be time consuming to understand, download and setup. But following this advice whether yours or mine can save some headache and expense – what they already own might be a good indication of what they should try to setup. The Bluetooth GPSR works with some Bluetooth smart phones also - now that might be interesting to try or read about - so there is yet another path one could attempt to setup if they already have a Bluetooth smart phone.

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wow, lots of money spent on a PDA!! with all the extras. Dell axium, bluetooth GPS, software!! Looks like well over $500 worth of stuff. Well I cant argue with that, as people like to spend money (better than cigarettes or gambling). So how long between recharges does the axium last while you are out hunting caches? Maybe five hours?

 

I am still saying that with a cheap Garmin Geko for $100 or less, and a Palm IIIxe PDA, and Cachemate (can live without GSAK, even though I recommend getting it), ****you are paperless for $150 GRAND TOTAL!!****. If you already have a GPS then you can spend as little as $30 to be paperless to get a Palm IIIxe (which lasts a month on lithium batteries!!!!).

 

P.S. I just bought a Krusell case for my Palm IIIxe, and it makes the PDA look terrific, while protecting it!!

it doesn't give you a topographical presentation with the caches displayed as you walk by or up to them - gives your position on the map and the cache - no need to even bring up the pointy arrow.

 

Isn't that what the GPS'r is for?

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I never have understood all this pda stuff for caching. Is the whole cache website downloaded onto the unit? Logs, hints, and all? And would the palm z22 be capable of this if it is true? Is it a certain file labled as a gpx and if so does it need certain software to transport information through the USB? If you can think of any more information that would help in this direction I'd be much obliged. ;)

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wow, lots of money spent on a PDA!! with all the extras. Dell axium, bluetooth GPS, software!! Looks like well over $500 worth of stuff. Well I cant argue with that, as people like to spend money (better than cigarettes or gambling). So how long between recharges does the axium last while you are out hunting caches? Maybe five hours?

 

I am still saying that with a cheap Garmin Geko for $100 or less, and a Palm IIIxe PDA, and Cachemate (can live without GSAK, even though I recommend getting it), ****you are paperless for $150 GRAND TOTAL!!****. If you already have a GPS then you can spend as little as $30 to be paperless to get a Palm IIIxe (which lasts a month on lithium batteries!!!!).

...

 

For cheap, you can't beat the old palms. The x51v is another thing. It may last 3 or 5 hours on a charge but since you don't leave it on all the time while caching you can get through a cache day with no problem. If I leave mine off it doesn't use much juice so a weekend or even a week with occasional use is no biggie. When my kids play games on it...forget it. The battery is toast. Overall the battery is one of the weak points of the x51 and x50 series.

Edited by Renegade Knight
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I never have understood all this pda stuff for caching. Is the whole cache website downloaded onto the unit? Logs, hints, and all? And would the palm z22 be capable of this if it is true? Is it a certain file labled as a gpx and if so does it need certain software to transport information through the USB? If you can think of any more information that would help in this direction I'd be much obliged. ;)

There are a variety of ways of doing this. At a minimum, I'd recommend the PocketQueries service from Geocaching.com and Cachemate for the Palm. Gc.com emails the pocket query (PQ) to you; you unzip it on your hard drive; then you run the CachemateConverter programs (comes with Cachemate) to create a .pdb file; then you Hotsync your Palm and that .pdb file gets uploaded into the PDA.

 

The next time you launch the Cachemate program on your PDA, it will notice the new .pdb file and import all the data into the program.

 

For each cache retrieved by your pocket query, Cachemate has the description, hint, past logs, your log (if you've logged it as a find), and a summary view. What it lacks are images which are sometimes necessary for puzzle caches. Not a big deal imo.

 

For me, getting the data into Cachemate is only half of the process. I also upload the PQ (I get it delivered in .gpx format) into my GPS, too. So when I'm out and about, I leave the GPS on and can see any caches in the immediate vicinity. If I'm interested in one, I look it up on my PDA (read the cache id code from the GPS and look it up in Cachemate).

 

---

 

But now that my local area has more caches than one PQ can retrieve, I use GSAK to automatically retrieve the multiple PQs sent to my email acct. GSAK can then compile all those caches into a single PDB file to upload into my Palm. GSAK can also download those cache waypoints directly into my GPS.

 

Every now and then, I tell GSAK to look at the Cachemate data that is backed up onto my hard drive (this is done automatically during a Hotsync) and for any finds logged by Cachemate, update those same caches in GSAK's database. From there, it is a semi-automated process to log my finds from GSAK to Geocaching.com.

 

And yeah, the Zire22 can handle something like Cachemate. My only concern is that it doesn't support an external card so you can't easily backup/restore your data in the event of a crash. However, I think the Z22 uses non-volatile memory, so the chances of a memory loss are low. In any case, a big strength of the Palm OS is that its Hotsync process is quite easy and reliable. Restoring all data back to the Palm from your PC is easy.

 

 

GeoBC

Edited by geobc
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Would like to purchase a PDA so I can become one of the "paperless cachers". <_< I would like a decent PDA that lets me store a lot of cache descriptions & logs. However, I don't want to spend a ton of money because I won't use the PDA for anything other than caching. Anyone out there using their PDA for paperless caching? Could use some guidance...Thanks!!

 

I am relatively new to Geocaching (known about it for a while, but just recently started seeking and hiding)... and I already had a PDA. I own a tour company and decided I wanted to test drive a GPS map package that I could rent to clients, so I got the Tom Tom package that Palm is selling (don't get this for geocaching -- it is fine for driving directions, but useless - with an exception or two, see below - for geocaching). It comes with a bluetooth GPSR.

 

There are a number of software packages out there for GPS and palm, and I tried a few... I am currently using GeoNiche, which is optimized for geocaching. It basically puts a front end on the bluetooth GPS. You can download .loc files (they need to be converted into palm files, but it comes with a java applet that does that for you) and getting them into the palm is as easy as syncing the palm. It does not have a map display, but it is very easy to use and consistently and easily gets me right to a cache. It also loads the descriptions of the caches, which are one button away on the display, and it will decode the hints for you.

 

As I said, the Tom Tom software is almost useless for geocaching, except for two things. Once, we were geocaching and my girlfriend started to feel ill after a bit of a hike. We found a road, and I loaded the Tom Tom software and bookmarked her position, walked back to the car, and then had it plot a route back to where she was... which was useful because I wasn't familiar with the neighborhood. The other thing that is useful about the package is that it comes with a cigarette lighter cord for both the palm and the receiver, as well as a car mount for the palm.

 

There may well be better packages/combinations out there, I don't know... my research is limited. But I am really happy with mine... it would work with any bluetooth-enabled palm. Mine is a T-5, but I think the TX might be a better deal these days.

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wow, lots of money spent on a PDA!! with all the extras. Dell axium, bluetooth GPS, software!! Looks like well over $500 worth of stuff. Well I cant argue with that, as people like to spend money (better than cigarettes or gambling). So how long between recharges does the axium last while you are out hunting caches? Maybe five hours?

 

I am still saying that with a cheap Garmin Geko for $100 or less, and a Palm IIIxe PDA, and Cachemate (can live without GSAK, even though I recommend getting it), ****you are paperless for $150 GRAND TOTAL!!****. If you already have a GPS then you can spend as little as $30 to be paperless to get a Palm IIIxe (which lasts a month on lithium batteries!!!!).

 

P.S. I just bought a Krusell case for my Palm IIIxe, and it makes the PDA look terrific, while protecting it!!

it doesn't give you a topographical presentation with the caches displayed as you walk by or up to them - gives your position on the map and the cache - no need to even bring up the pointy arrow.

 

Isn't that what the GPS'r is for?

 

A Bluetooth GPSR is just a receiver - no screen, two buttons, two lights - without the PDA you see nothing.

Edited by rjosprey
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I have a Palm M500, on which I installed Cachemate. I got an inexpensive metal case for it. The monochrome screen is much easier to see in bright sunlight than the color Zire screens are.

 

I have a data card for it, so I can put thousands of caches on the Palm, useful if you are going on a long trip.

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Any other specific suggestions for a low cost PDA? (other than the Palm IIIxe). I have never used a PDA and after having shelled out most of my cash for the 60CSx id like to save lots on the PDA but would want to use it to keep the last few logs and hints.

 

I've got a Palm Vx I bought from a fellow geocacher for $30. Its great. Using GSAK and Cachemate I'm able to have seperate dbases for Traditional caches, Puzzles(Unknown), an Multis so I can quickly decide if I want to search for a cache. Ive only paperless cached so I dont know any other way :cry:

Edited by SithL0rd
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I tried the www.backcountrynavigator link and it comes up with a 404 error. I did a search on google and came up with Pocket Navigator (a.k.a. Memory-map Navigator). Found a couple of good reviews on the product(s). Is anyone here familiar with them? Price is $49.95 and $99 respectively. Don't want to shell out that kind of money if it is not worth it.

 

Thanks for the advice.

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I tried the www.backcountrynavigator link and it comes up with a 404 error. I did a search on google and came up with Pocket Navigator (a.k.a. Memory-map Navigator). Found a couple of good reviews on the product(s). Is anyone here familiar with them? Price is $49.95 and $99 respectively. Don't want to shell out that kind of money if it is not worth it.

 

Thanks for the advice.

Same here delay....link is down I guess.

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I don't have it on hand, yet, but I just bought a refurb M500 on eBay for $9.99. Ten bucks? What do I have to lose? I'm only buying it to try out these PDA caching tools I'm reading about here. We'll see how successful I am!

 

Anyway, the seller I bought it from is apparently in this type of business because he has a lot of them and the starting bids are all $9.99. I think he's selling new ones for $50.

 

By the way, the M500, as mentioned in an earlier post, takes an SD card so its memory is virtually limitless.

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I have had some good experiences with my PPC and Bluetooth GPSR and some bad. First I realize that the Nav screen works - the good - but it doesn't matter what the orientation of the GPSR or your PPC. Huh, well yeah, if you hold the PPC up when moving than the Nav arrow will indicate whether you need to move left, right or continue straight, points up on the screen, on your track to stay on the line to the cache, and under Backcountry Navigator it will tell you your speed and degrees that you need to change your direction. Of course if you turn the PPC nothing turns on the screen - so keep it straight up. The arrow is large enough but all the other font for degrees, coordinates and speed is small. Humm, maybe I don't need a sighting compass, as long as I am moving. The other good thing is that by putting your Bluetooth GPSR in your pack at the top pointed to the sky, the GPSR pickup is getting redirected less, tilted less and that is probably why it seems to beat handheld units for accuracy - some handhelds have the same Sirf Star III chipset and are probably equally accurate - I observe that any repointing or tilting causes it to go off a bit. The bad - my pickup GPSR has a magnet on back that perhaps was the cause of a reversal of magnetization of my sighting compass – the north needle points south! :rolleyes: When on top of Carrizo Mountain in the pitch dark, no moon, it was so whacko, that there was confusion about the way off, no waypoint had been set when I left the jeep road, but as soon as I glanced at the sky and the city lights in the wrong canyon I knew the error - and went completely against the compass - because it had to be wrong - the needle pointed south - not towards Polaris - north. So having a magnet on the back of the pickup, Bluetooth GPSR, may be nice on the dash where it keeps it over a bolt, is potentially bad on your compass. I corrected the magnetization on my sighting compass with a rare earth magnet - I was a little surprised it just didn't reorient and prevent that, but I had a rare earth magnet at right angles lock in the needle enough to pull off a switch in north south - I was lucky there. Sometimes your instruments are wrong - wow - glad I wasn't flying a plane. :rolleyes:

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I have had some good experiences with my PPC and Bluetooth GPSR and some bad. First I realize that the Nav screen works - the good - but it doesn't matter what the orientation of the GPSR or your PPC. Huh, well yeah, if you hold the PPC up when moving than the Nav arrow will indicate whether you need to move left, right or continue straight, points up on the screen, on your track to stay on the line to the cache, and under Backcountry Navigator it will tell you your speed and degrees that you need to change your direction. Of course if you turn the PPC nothing turns on the screen - so keep it straight up. The arrow is large enough but all the other font for degrees, coordinates and speed is small. Humm, maybe I don't need a sighting compass, as long as I am moving.

It's true that a Pocket PC doesn't report electronic compass headings, at least in the ones I know about. So it works much like a handheld GPS without an electronic compass.

 

There could certainly be some issues if a bluetooth GPS reports electronic compass directions and you don't remember which way you've pointed it when you put it up on top of your backpack.

 

I find that I do like to have a compass to help find directions with BackCountry Navigator, but don't always find that I've remembered one when I need it.

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Would like to purchase a PDA so I can become one of the "paperless cachers". :grin: I would like a decent PDA that lets me store a lot of cache descriptions & logs. However, I don't want to spend a ton of money because I won't use the PDA for anything other than caching. Anyone out there using their PDA for paperless caching? Could use some guidance...Thanks!!

By now, i'm sure you have a PDA, but here is my set-up....Windows XP>GPSr (eTREX legendcx)>PDA (Palm IIIxe with USB/serial adapter cable) note: be sure to acquire the correct driver for Sync between PDA and PC>GSAK>Cachemate for PDA>geocaching.com (premium membership)>Google Earth>Pocket Query’s...Cost: PDA $60>Premium Membership $30...GSAK $20...Cachemate $8...Google Earth free...PQs free with P/Membership...GSAK & Cachemate are a great team and fun, interesting and easy to use...Groundspeak forum and GSAK forum will provide all the help you will need or want...Absolutely works for me:) Now all I carry is: GPSr...PDA...Camera (small digital) ...compass and NO paper...GFI

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